Physical Fitness for Senior Citizens

The baby boomers are the largest generation in our history.  As they start to turn to senior citizens, talking the important steps to maintain their health will become more and more important.

Doctor Parking (Photo credits: www.myparkingsign.com)

So to help those who are turning 65…or who have already done so…I wanted to put some simple to follow steps together so that those who wish can regain their strength and vitality.

Step 1: Get a thorough physical exam from your physician.  You need an honest appraisal of your health with your doctor to determine what your current condition is.  From this, you will learn not only what you current medical condition is [ie: if you are diabetic, high blood pressure, need to lose weight, etc…] but also have a conversation with your doctor to find out some of the weight loss tips you will need to follow in order to get in shape.

Step 2:  I am going to recommend the best overall exercise you can do…WALKING!  Why would I say so…because walking:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Is free to do
  • Anyone can do it
  • No special equipment needed

And so long as you do it long enough…30 minutes at least…and strenuously enough…aiming to reach a 4.0 mph pace…this is one of the best workouts you could consider.

Step 3: Perhaps the biggest misnomer about exercise is that it has to involve ‘working out.’  Just because you are not sweating in a gym doesn’t mean that you aren’t exercising.  Here are a few ideas…

  • Playing with your grandchildren
  • Washing your car
  • Home remodeling
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Yard work

All of these will get your heartbeat up without you going to the gym.

Step 4: Strength training-The best way to build muscle, lose weight, maintain strong bones, ward off osteoporosis and fight off the effects of age is by strength training.  Now, men won’t have the problem that women will have with that.  But just think about things this way…

The key to losing weight and regaining your health is to increase your metabolism so that your burns more calories when you are not working out.  And the only way to effectively do, as I said, this is to speed up your metabolism.  To do this is a natural and holistic fashion; there is one way to accomplish this…to add muscle to your frame.

In addition, for women strength training has the added benefit of strengthening bones so that the effects of ailments such as osteoporosis can be lessened or eliminated.

Now, I am not suggesting to anyone here that they have to start lifting heavy weights or compete in the World’s Strongest Man competition.  Quite the contrary, I am suggesting that you develop the discipline to do 20-30 minutes of resistance band and body weight workouts…from home…2-3 days a week.  Done properly, if you do resistance band exercises from home you will be able to obtain the same workout without having to go to the gym.

Step 5: Yoga…this one the guys will resist, but don’t knock it until you have tried it.  Yoga increases strength, flexibility and endurance.  And because it is a very low impact workout it is great for people with joint problems.

Step 6: Explore other avenues of cardiovascular endurance.  If you are bored with walking…especially if you do it on the treadmill at the gym…here are a few alternatives for you.

  • Elliptical machine [cross country skiing]
  • Step machine
  • Swimming
  • Step aerobics
  • Kickboxing
  • Rowing machine, etc…

There are plenty of options for you to choose from to get your heartbeat up.  The choice is up to you.  Find something you enjoy to do and start moving.

Step 7: Eating right.  I will mention it here even though your doctor probably talked to you about changing your diet and adding less processed foods at your physical.  Make sure to listen to your doctor’s recommendations regarding your intake of sugar and salt, as well as saturated fat that can raise your cholesterol.

About the author:

Tony Rovere is an advocate for senior citizens and elder health issues having to deal with the complexities of the Medicaid process following his mother’s heart attack.

He now shares his insights on care giving and senior issues on his blog, StuffSeniorsNeed, which was created to help senior citizens and baby boomers who have become caregivers.


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2 comments

  1. I agree with you that there are various ways a senior citizen can keep himself fit.

    On another note, this post reminds me of our Athletic Director back in university. Although he is over 60 years of age, he can still play some basketball and volleyball.
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